Slow melt means low flood threats

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 9:01 PM
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In 2011, the swollen Minnesota River still flowed heavily over a closed portion of Hwy. 101 in Shakopee.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Despite the snowy winter, there’s little chance of major river flooding in the coming weeks across most of Minnesota.

The cool late winter and early spring have slowed runoff into rivers and streams, and an April expected to be cooler than normal will continue to limit flood threats, according to Craig Schmidt, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

At Fargo-Moorhead, where the north-flowing Red River is an annual spring menace, water could rise during the third week of April to about the anti-climactic peak it reached last spring.

Snow is mostly gone over the southwestern third of Minnesota, so communities along the Minnesota River are facing the least likelihood of flooding. The risk at St. Paul is below normal.

In western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, however, lingering deep snow could still lead to problems along the St. Croix, Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. At Stillwater, officials may impose a no-wake zone for boaters on the St. Croix, and there’s a 50 percent chance the Stillwater Lift Bridge will be closed during the second half of April.

Along the Upper Mississippi River, flood risks are slightly above normal. Aitkin could see flooding in some low areas near the end of April.

After a high temperature pushing 60 Sunday in the Twin Cities, daily ranges are expected to revert to above freezing during the day and below freezing at night next week, which will slow melting. Some wet snow and rain are possible across central and northern Minnesota late next week.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646

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